– Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, Members of Senate and Parliament;
– Distinguished National and International Guests,
– Dear all Participants,
Today I am honored and greatly delighted to join you all the official, employees and specialists of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation in the closing conference on taking stock of 2005 performance and setting direction for 2006. This is the 1st taking stock conference of the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works during these three terms of the Royal Government and this is the launching of the conference which will be conducted annually to take stock of performance in pubic works and transportations. Indeed, the conference is an important forum to reflect on reality and a good opportunity to monitor, draw lesson learned and exchange of experiences regarding the outcomes of our past works and to identify strength and weakness; thus, we will discuss, exchange of ideas/opinions and share knowledge. Through these activities we will come up with the action plan and new effective measures to improve and fill out the gap and promote the implementation ofpolicies on rehabilitation, development and maintenance of transportation infrastructure such as roads, bridges, roadway, railway, waterway, ports and airway to be a potential mean to drive “the locomotive of economic growth” and social development aiming at rapid poverty reduction of our people consistent with objectives of the “Rectangular Strategy”of the Royal Government in accelerating economic “growth”, generating “employment” for workers, improving “equity” in society and strengthening public sector “efficiency”.
As I frequently pointed out, during ground-breaking of construction sites and inauguration new achievements such as roads, bridges and ports, that “with road, we are with hope.” It is true that rehabilitation and development of infrastructure, roads and bridges, are the important strategic works in the implementation of policies on peace and integration, promoting and sustaining economic growth, and poverty reduction. Because of the construction of roads and bridges, our people gain many opportunities in traveling, transportation, knowledge seeking, health-care services, jobs and incomes. With Roads and bridges, our farmers can bring agricultural produces to the market and bring back utensils, tools and materials for daily use as well as for production and business. It is also able to find credit, clean water, health services or education to support and prosper the family.
At the same time, I would like to stress that infrastructure is a sector that is important for a sustainable development. In the current situation of Cambodia, infrastructure has three important attributes that are for economy, society and security.Economic attribute is because of infrastructure is a subject of either investment or investment attraction that are the great sources for Cambodia to build foundation for production and services and established its geographical location in the world.Social attribute is because of roads and bridges are the key factor that at the same time of sustaining economic growth, they play imperative roles in poverty reduction since they formulate opportunity for creating more jobs, traveling and transportation etc. In addition, infrastructure also has security attribute, because constructing roads infrastructure would bring about more travelers and crowding to the region that roads come across. With good road condition, density of people along the road would increases and transforms a rural area from a difficult situation to an area that has connection to urban area.
Moreover, roads and bridges are crucial for domestic integration of the economy that has been disintegrated during war time and internal conflicts for two decades.
Taking this opportunity of today conference, on behalf of people and Royal Government of Cambodia and my own behalf, I highly appreciate and extend my deep gratitude to donor countries and development partners that have actively participated and contributed to economic growth and social development in Cambodia by providing support financially and technically for rehabilitation, development and the maintaining of transportation infrastructure all over the country. At the same time, I would like to express my compliment and encouragement to civil servants, leaders of ministries and institutions, all related local authorities and particularly extend to leaders and civil servants at all levels of Ministry of Public Works and Transportations that have united and closely cooperated, exerted efforts, and had high responsibilities in beefing up and maintaining transportation infrastructure that seen to be successful a year ago. At the same time, the efforts to strengthen institution and good governance that have incorporated in administrative management mechanism of the ministry are the inevitable pieces to promote development and job creation in all fields. For the activities of Ministry of Public Works and Transportations of the third legislative of National Assembly, I would say that the progresses have been made and worth to get compliment, but the Ministry still has some holes that I would like to press are “the lack of careful monitoring on roads repairing and maintaining” and “lack of monitoring over-loaded vehicles” that are the reasons of damaging roads and bridges shortly after the construction.
According to stock taking report made by H.E. Sun Chanthol, Minister of Ministry of Public Works and Transportations, I enthusiast and appreciate the conference, which has successfully completed with participative interventions and active exchange ideas among participant of the conference who were invited from all subordinated units of the ministry including provincial departments for public works and transportations all over the countries as well as relevant ministries-institutions.
Stemming from the above-mentioned points and experiences in public works and transportations that I used to work with, I believe that we should continue to toughly monitor to seize more opportunities for the promoting rehabilitation, development and maintenance of roads infrastructure to gain a speedy development. At the same time, I would like to suggest recommendations and convey some thoughts as follow:
First – Put more attentions and responsibilities as well as thorough monitoring in building, maintaining, repairing roads, bridges to be at high quality and safety that complied with international standard in order to assure the sustainability of roads transportation.
Second – Take high responsibilities and successfully implement as being the head of National Committee for Safety of Road Traffic through the cooperation with relevant ministries-institutions, all levels of authorities, national and international NGOs for putting 15 points of Action Plan on Traffic Safety for actual implementation with efficiency. These would address and prevent the concerning increases in traffic accidents. On behalf of the Royal Government, I strongly support the implementation of the Action Plan on Traffic Safety and to appeal to all relevant ministries-institutions, all level of authorities, national and international NGOs to join the support in spirit, materials or finance in order to enable this committee successfully fulfill its works. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank Handicap International of Belgium that has supported the work on traffic safety and I strongly hope that such assistance will continue further in the future.
For traffic accident issues, I observed that the main reason is from the problem of vehicles. For the issue of right steering wheel, the government decided to address, on 18 March 2006, by providing legal rights to right steering wheel to be on the road same as left steering wheel under conditions of paying taxes and getting a legal license plate. The other issues need to be monitored are the inspection of technical fitness of vehicles. We, all, know that a lots of vehicles particularly vehicles in transportation business, passenger transportation or taxi do not have regular standard technical inspection; deviation from technical standard causes frequent accidents on driving. In this regards, I would like Ministry of Public Works and Transportations cooperates with relevant institutions to take measures by encouraging having a regular technical standards inspection.
Third – Another issue is that production year for tax purpose differs from actual production year of the vehicles and the use of fake license plates and licenses. These have to take tough measures to keep public order and convenience of inspection as well as effectively preventing all kinds of offenses. So far on the road, I always see some cars have number plate read asCalifornia, Texas, Boston, Washington, Watt (pagoda), press, and fake license plates etc. Therefore, I would like the authorities to work with the Ministry of Public Works and Transportations and Ministry of Interior taking measures to abolish urgently the faked license plate.
Fourth – I would like Ministry of Public Works and Transportation to make efforts to improve as soon as possible on legal procedures for issuing driving licenses, licensed plate and other licenses related to the management of mainland, water and shipping transportation by making it easy and quick while eliminating corruption in form of informal expenditure.
Fifth – Make efforts to achieve Asia railroad connection, Singapore-Kunming, particularly connecting with Thailand for route from Poi Pet to Sisophon linked and connecting route from Phnom Penh to Loknin with Vietnam.
Sixth – Continue to cooperate with development partners and donor communities to make laws on water, shipping and road transportations and related laws and regulations in conformity with the condition of globalization and regional and world integration.
Seventh – Strengthen port overall management nationwide by using existing mechanism in order to create climate of doing business in the field competitive, fair, equitable and transparent aiming at increasing national revenue.
Eighth – I would like to remind once again that joint committee in inspection over-loaded vehicles that loaded exceed the allowable maximum weight makes an effort to strictly beef up actions to absolutely prevent the over-loaded vehicles which is a main cause of damaging road and bridges shortly.
I think that while taking action to prevent offenses such as “clearing forest, burning forest, bulldozing and fencing state land for individual ownership”, “theft and robbery”, and “eliminating of gangster” are hot issues presently; “traffic safety problem”, “fake license plate” and “over-loaded vehicles” are also the major concern for the government. Obviously, I frequently raised these issues, so I do not want to raise them repeatedly. I would like Ministry of Public Works and Transportations, Ministry of Interior and competent authorities take strict and serious measures to quickly bar and abolish these anarchic issues that mentioned above.
Before closing, on behalf of government and my self, I would like to congratulate the fruitful implementation in rehabilitation, development and maintenance and repairing of transportation infrastructure for the whole year 2005 as well as the prosperous outcome of the conference. Through the management, leaders, and subordinate units, I would like to convey my best wishes and best regards to officials, staffs and employees of Ministry of Public Works and Transportations either based in Phnom Penh or other parts of the country.
In the end, on the occasion of forth coming Khmer New Year, Year of Dog, Buddhist year of 2550, I would like to wish all of you good luck, prosperity and five gems of Buddhist blessing. I would like to close the conference on Stock-taking for 2005 and set the direction for 2006 of the Ministry of Public Works and Transportations for now.